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Can Russia and China trust each other?

Can Russia and China trust each other?

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping buttered each other up Tuesday - tossing pancakes on the sidelines of an economic forum.

Seventy-three years after the war concluded, the two countries remain technically at war because of a territorial dispute over four Pacific islands.

"I and President Putin share the view that it is an abnormal situation that Japan and Russian Federation have not concluded a peace treaty although more than 70 years have passed since the end of the war", Abe said.

Shinzo Abe also said the living generation has the responsibility to "completely remove the post-war scenery" from the region.

While Moscow has said the drills will not take place on the contested islands, Abe told Putin that Japan is "keeping a close eye on" them, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami quoted by Kyodo.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared open to a treaty, saying it was "not normal" that one still hasn't been signed after seven decades.

After numerous meetings over the past few years between Abe and Putin, they have launched various economic projects on the islands in areas such as the farming of fish and shellfish, wind-generated energy, and tourism. In 1956, Japan and the Soviet Union agreed to end "the state of war" and restore diplomatic relations.

With kitchen aprons on, Putin and Xi fried traditional Russian pancakes - also known as bliny - and tried them with seafood delicacies including red and black caviar.

"It is not a joke", Putin added, suggesting the two countries commit to solving the territorial dispute in the text of the peace deal.

Russian and Japanese foreign ministry officials said work on the future agreement would continue as usual.

Establishing its sovereignty over the islands is the crucial issue for Japan, so it would be unlikely to sign a deal without first receiving some assurances from the Kremlin over the fate of the islands. Putin added, "It seems to me that this would facilitate the solution of all problems which we have not been able to solve during the past 70 years".

The proposal means that resolving the bilateral issue on the northern territories would effectively be put aside and a conclusion of the peace treaty would happen first.

A Japanese government spokesman said the country's stance had not changed.

Experts have to "conduct a thorough study of the possible economic output" of the project, Abe said.

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